Irish UFC Welterweight Cathal Pendred extended his UFC record to 4-0 inside the octagon after a unanimous decision victory over Mexican challenger Augusto Montano at UFC 188. But despite the win, there are still many question marks over Pendred’s ranking within the welterweight division and if his wins will result in bigger fights for the Dubliner.
After winning Fight of the Night honours in his UFC debut win over Mike King at UFC Fight Night Dublin, Pendred’s last three fights have left a lot to be desired with the SBG fighter not able to fulfil the lofty expectations that he places upon himself.
Largely overshadowed by the success of teammate Conor McGregor, Pendred has managed to accumulate his own success inside the Octagon, but is visibly disheartened that his performances aren’t quite playing out in the spectacular fashion that he may have envisioned. Although Pendred appears to be doing everything within his powers to ensure he maximises his own success, including being the first fighter on the UFC 188 card to start training in Mexico, his last few fights have been rather dull – and it’s not all entirely on Pendred.
Pendred’s win over Augusto Montano was deserved but undeniably dull, as Montano’s lack of engagement made it hard for Pendred to make it an entertaining fight. Cathal looked to push the pace and initiate contact, but Augusto had other ideas; preferring to strike and move in often the most unusual of ways. A better fighter may have overcome Montano’s highly unorthodox style and been able to finish the Mexican, but Pendred, unlike teammate McGregor, is not known for his ability to finish his opponent in the cage, with just 7 wins by stoppage in 20 professional fights.
Pendred’s previous fight against Sean Spencer at UFC Fight Bight Boston was labelled as a ‘robbery’ by commentator Joe Rogan and UFC President Dana White, but despite being clearly outclassed on his feet, Pendred still pushed the pace and scored effectively – although many felt the decision win to be highly controversial. A rematch was touted with Spencer for UFC 185 in March, but the fight never came to fruition with Pendred instead being slated for UFC 188 in Mexico City.
Pendred’s win against Montano leaves him in a very peculiar position – who does he fight next?
It has not been unusual in the UFC for fighters on a four fight win streak to earn title shots, but judging by Pendred’s performances, a shot at the winner of Lawler-MacDonald is a million miles away. A shot at a top 10 challenger however is very plausible.
While Pendred’s lack of dynamism in the cage has been clear for all to see, with many of his wins rather laboured to date, he has still shown an ability to string wins together and come out the better man on the judges scorecard. His record is what it is – undefeated in the UFC.
While a fight with a high calibre striker could very much put that undefeated UFC record in jeopardy, it’s something that we deserve to see as fans. No Pendred or Irish MMA fan wants to see Cathal in another dull preliminary fight against a company newcomer. It’s about high time that Pendred is tested in the UFC against a quality opponent to see if Pendred’s run in the UFC is legitimate or lucky. Pitting Pendred against a Jake Ellenberger, Diego Sanchez or Thiago Alves would put the Dubliner in the cage with an opponent that will very quickly be able to tell us all if Pendred has what it takes to succeed in the UFC. If Pendred loses, we will all be able to have a better gauge of where he lies within the promotion, but if he is able to prove himself against an opponent in the ilk of those mentioned above and pull out a win, questions over his style will no longer carry the same weight. Only time will tell which route the UFC and Joe Silva decide to take with the Dubliner, but one things for sure, another indecisive Pendred win is something none of us want to see – none more so than the man himself.